Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws

Compass Direct News reports that a young man has been charged with desecrating the Quran under Pakistan’s controversial ‘blasphemy’ laws after the Christian had an argument over rent with his Muslim landlord.

Religion News Blog has highlighted many similar reports on the use and abuse of Pakistan’s so-called blasphemy laws.

These blasphemy laws have been widely condemned in large part because they have been used as a tool for the persecution of religious minorities in Pakistan.

In addition, false accusations of blasphemy are often used by Muslims in disputes not only with Christians and followers of other faiths, but also with fellow Muslims.

On many occasions violent mobs of Muslims have taken justice in their own hands by killing or otherwise harming those why have been accused of blasphemy.

The Pakistan Penal Code prohibits blasphemy against any recognized religion, providing penalties ranging from a fine to death. However, in practice, it is only applied to Islam. An accusation of blasphemy commonly subjects the accused, police, lawyers, and judges to harassment, threats, and attacks. An accusation is sometimes the prelude to vigilantism and rioting.

Calls for change in the blasphemy laws have been strongly resisted by Islamic parties.

Prominent figures like Salman Taseer (the former governor of Punjab) and Shahbaz Bhatti (the Federal Minister for Minorities) have been assassinated for their opposition to the blasphemy laws. […]

Those who are accused of blasphemy may be subject to harassment, threats, and attacks. Police, lawyers, and judges may also be subject to harassment, threats, and attacks when blasphemy is an issue. Those accused of blasphemy are subject to immediate incarceration, and most accused are denied bail to forestall mob violence.

It is common for those accused of blasphemy to be put in solitary confinement for their protection from other inmates and guards.

Like those who have served a sentence for blasphemy, those who are acquitted of blasphemy usually go into hiding or leave Pakistan.

– Source: Blasphemy law in Pakistan Wikipedia. Last accessed Tuesday, December 27, 2011 – 1:49 PM CET

Pakistan’s Penal Code dealing with blasphemy includes two special sections addressing alleged blasphemy by followers of Ahmadiyya. While Ahmadis refer to themselves as Muslims, theologically Ahmadiyya is considered a sect or cult of Islam.

Documentary on the Blasphemy Law in Pakistan



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